NFL odds: There's 1 team whose win total has improved this offseason, and it's Carolina

The Carolina Panthers, by any measure, were awful last season.

They got the No. 1 overall pick and earned it. Of course, they had already traded that pick away to the Chicago Bears. They went 2-15 and their two wins came by a combined four points. They were outscored by 180 points.

And yet, the Panthers are the one team whose win total has changed in a positive direction this offseason.

The Panthers' win total at BetMGM opened at 4.5, the lowest opening win total in the NFL. They seemed like an unlikely team to be a favorite of bettors this offseason, but some action on the over pushed the win total to 5.5.

The Panthers, the worst team in the NFL last season, are the only team to see their win total be moved up a win this offseason.

The Panthers are the third-most popular over bet, in terms of number of tickets. The Steelers' over of 7.5 and the Bears' over of 8.5 have gotten more bets at BetMGM.

But the Panthers' line moved. That's significant, because oddsmakers don't like moving win totals after they're set. There's too much concern about many bettors having over 4.5 tickets, other bettors having under 5.5 tickets and everyone winning if that team wins exactly five games.

Part of the Panthers' movement is the low opening total. It's rare for a team to have a win total so low and then go under. It's not too much to ask an NFL team to win five games, even one that was the worst team in the league by a mile last season.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young and his team are looking to improve this season. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young and his team are looking to improve this season. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

And there is reason to believe the Panthers could be better. First, they can't be much worse. Also, there is optimism over new coach Dave Canales, who had a good season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive coordinator last season. Perhaps he can help Bryce Young the way he helped Baker Mayfield last season. The Panthers have also made several additions in free agency, particularly to the offensive line.

The Panthers are still near the bottom of the NFL heap. But many bettors just need the Panthers to go 5-12.

There is also just one team whose win total has moved down over the offseason. That's the New England Patriots, who went from 5.5 to 4.5 at BetMGM. The Patriots now have the lowest win total on the board.

Maybe the Panthers won't be the worst team in the NFL again. Their offseason additions include $153 million in contracts to guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis, a little more than $71 million to defensive linemen A'Shawn Robinson, Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum and linebacker Josey Jewell, and a trade for former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson. They also finagled a trade back into the first round of the NFL Draft to take receiver Xavier Legette at 32nd overall. Young didn't have much help as a rookie, but the Panthers took steps to fix that before his second season.

The Panthers still have the longest odds to win the Super Bowl at BetMGM at 250-1. That's OK for the bettors who like Carolina. They're just looking for a moderate improvement.

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